Willie Weeks

Willie Weeks (born August 5, 1947) is an American bass guitarist. He has gained fame performing with famous musicians in a wide variety of genres. He has been one of the most in-demand session musicians throughout his career. Weeks has also gained notoriety touring with many of rock’s heavyweights throughout his career. In 2006–2007 he was most visible as the chosen bassist for Eric Clapton’s house band, during his world tour with the Crossroads Guitar Festival.

Career

Weeks was born in Salemburg, North Carolina and began playing the electric bass in the early 1960s. His earliest influences were the country, pop and R&B music he heard on the radio. Weeks counts bassists Ron Carter, James Jamerson, and Ray Brown as early influences.

Weeks has worked in the studio and/or toured with artists as varied as:

Gregg Allman, David Bowie, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Roy Buchanan, Jimmy Buffett, Kevin Chalfant, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Hank Crawford, Robert Cray, Pino Daniele, Bo Diddley, The Doobie Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Vince Gill, Isaac Hayes, George Harrison, Etta James, Billy Joel, Rickie Lee Jones, Wynonna Judd, Chaka Khan, B.B. King, Lyle Lovett, Gail Davies, David Lee Roth, Michael McDonald, Don McLean, John Mayer, John Mellencamp, Bette Midler, Randy Newman, Pino Palladino, John Scofield, Carly Simon, Soulive, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Richard and Linda Thompson, Joe Walsh, Bobby Womack, Leon Russell, Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder, Ronnie Wood, and Eikichi Yazawa.

Weeks’ playing on Donny Hathaway’s Live (1972), including a 3½ minute bass solo on “Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)”, is regarded by many bass players as some of Weeks’ best work. Weeks played a 1962 Fender P-Bass through an Ampeg SVT amplifier on the recording (though it had initially been reported that he played through an Ampeg B-15). Weeks also played bass at the Crossroads Guitar Festival on July 28, 2007 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.

Willie Weeks played with Ask Rufus, the precursor band to Rufus with Chaka Khan. He appeared on their recording of Al Kooper’s song,”Brand New Day.” Weeks also played with the Fabulous Amazers and Bill Lordan (pre Robin Trower drummer) in the Minnesota group, Gypsy. He also played bass guitar for Michael’s Mystics back in the 60’s in Minnesota. Bill Lordan was the drummer of that band as well. That band recorded “Pain” by the Grassroots, a big hit locally for the Mystics.

Equipment

In addition to his red 1962 P-Bass, Weeks also uses a maple-neck 1958 Precision, and a 1964 Jazz Bass, as well as a tobacco sunburst Kay four-string acoustic bass for Clapton’s “unplugged repertoire”. Weeks used a sunburst 1963 P-Bass during Clapton’s 2008 European Summer tour. In 2014 he began using his “WW” Willie Weeks signature bass by Bee Basses.

On the 2009 Australasian and British tours, Weeks played Fender, Kay and Alleva Coppolo basses.

Weeks appeared in the films Blues Brothers 2000 (in a fictional supergroup along with other musicians he’s worked with) and Lightning in a Bottle.

Discography

With David Bowie
  • 1975 “Young Americans”
With Gypsy
  • 1971 In the Garden, Metromedia
With George Harrison
  • 1974 Dark Horse
  • 1975 Extra Texture (Read All About It)
  • 1976 Thirty Three & 1/3
  • 1979 George Harrison
  • 1981 Somewhere in England
  • 1982 Gone Troppo
With Donny Hathaway
  • 1972 Live
With Herbie Mann
  • Turtle Bay (Atlantic, 1973)
With Randy Newman
  • 1974 Good Old Boys
  • 1977 Little Criminals
  • 1979 Born Again
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